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Rules and Regulations

This page contains rules and regulation pertaining to the project exhibit, safety and the written report. Please read carefully before planning your project and beginning the construction of your exhibit.

NOTE: If your project involves human subjects, they must fill in a consent form otherwise the project will be disqualified. The form should list what the participant will be required to do and explain any possible risks. Be sure to verify that your project does not violate the strict guidelines on participation by humans or animals.

STEM Projects and COVID-19

We enter the current STEM fair season COVID-19 infection rates in Canada are still high. All STEM fair projects must adhere to the safety standards in place in their province and municipality to support the health and safety of all participants, including the youth carrying out the project. All local COVID-19 protocols must be followed in detail. Projects that fail to observe COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time they are carried out are ineligible to participate in STEM fairs. It is the responsibility of the region to determine whether this is the case.

All students working on STEM fair projects are encouraged to find alternatives to using human participants where possible.

At this Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair wearing of masks is mandatory.

National Ethics & Safety Committee
Youth Science Canada

(1) Consent Form for human participants – Editable    Blank Form   Example Form
(2) Request for Ethics Ruling

Project Exhibit

Backboard building and design. The backboard is the main way that you communicate your project to viewers. It should be interesting, attractive and informative, clearly conveying your project and results.

The maximum backboard dimensions are:

1.2 m wide (120 cm / 3′ 11″)
0.8 m deep (80 cm / 2′ 7″)
2.0 m high (200 cm / 6′ 6″)

[or 3.5 meters total height (350 cm / 11′ 5″) from floor]

Your display does not have to use the table provided. Students whose board sizes are larger than the above dimensions may be disqualified.

On the backboard:
  • Headings should stand out.
  • All text should be clearly written and legible from three to four feet away.
    See examples in the Information Package
  • Graphs, charts, and diagrams need to be labeled and clearly drawn.
  • In the display, include some apparatus so you can demonstrate key components of the experiment to judges and viewers.
  • Also include any data books you used, your project report, and sources used in your arguments such as scientific papers and books.

Example of a Project Exhibit:

Your exhibit does not have to look exactly like this (ie. you may not want a separate title board) but you should include the key parts indicated and it should have a clear and logical flow.

Backboards and title boards must be constructed of the following materials:

    1. Corrugated cardboard – corrugated cardboard backboards (such as those available at art supply stores) will be allowed at the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair. However, students chosen to go to the Canada Wide Science Fair must have a backboard constructed of the material(s) listed below.
    2. Wood products and lumber at least 6mm (0.25 inch) thick (includes plywood, fiberboard, hardboard, Masonite, particleboard and other Class III or C materials).
    3. Metal
    4. Plexiglass/ Acrylic
    5. Sintra, Intecell, Intefoam (not foam board) – these are trade names for PVC plastic foam board up to 12 mm (0.5 inch) thick, which are chemical resistant and fire retardant.
    6. Flame-Rated Corrugated Products – These are made of factory-treated, fire-retardant corrugated cardboard. Must display certification mark of “WH (Warnock Hersey) Listed Fire Retardant Paper Product” (UL-94 equivalent).
    7. Any material that meets UL-94 standard bearing factory-attached label – i.e. Coroplast Firewall F.R.B. – Fire Resistant Board.

Do not use the following to construct your backboard or title board: Foam Board, Styrofoam and paper products such as Art Board, Plastic, Coroplast (except Firewall F.R.B.)

Display material (fire safety)

    1. Presentation information including text, graphics, photographs and other data on the backboard must be printed on bond (laser, inkjet, or standard copier), photographic or laminated paper (i.e. construction paper).
    2. Construction Paper, Bristol board and papers listed above (under 1) may be used to outline or border presentation information, or to add decorative elements to the backboard.
    3. Display material (listed above) should be attached to the backboard with an adhesive so it makes a solid contact over the complete surface.
    4. Anything raised 2 mm above the surface of the backboard must be constructed of an approved backboard material.

Safety Regulations

Teacher sponsors are responsible for ensuring the safety of the exhibits and the appropriateness of the experimentation that is conducted by the student. See the Youth Science Canada – mySTEMspace Ethics Guidelines  for human participation and the use of animals in science fair projects. Check also the ethics links on the USEFUL LINKS page. The following is a summary of pertinent rules and regulations regarding science fair project exhibits. The VIRSF committee has the complete authority to request that the exhibit not be activated during the fair, and if necessary may demand the withdrawal of an entry from the fair.

Fire Safety
  • Fire hazardous materials shall not be displayed with the exhibit.
  • No open flames or other heating devices are allowed at the exhibit.
Chemical Safety
  • If projects involved chemicals that may be harmful if spilled or tampered with (including prescription drugs or over-the-counter medication), then the display should use harmless substitutes in sealed containers or photographs of the material for display purposes only.
  • Simulated chemicals can be used for display purposes such as table salt to represent a drug, water to represent alcohol, or molasses to simulate a petroleum product. In such cases they should be preceded by the word “simulated” with the actual contents indicated. Again, exhibitors do not have to actually do their projects for the judges; they only have to report on it.
Electrical Safety
  • All electrical live parts must be safely contained.
  • All homemade devices need proper grounding with a three-prong plug.
  • X-ray equipment or any other equipment capable of emitting high energy radiation should not be operated.
  • Projects involving voltages above 10kV should be considered to pose a potential hazard.
  • Lasers may not be operated during public viewing times.
Animal Experimentation
  • Live vertebrate animals (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians) will not be displayed in the Fair.
  • The only parts of vertebrate animals that may be presented are those that are naturally shed or parts that are properly preserved. Examples are snake skin, hair samples, and skeletons.
  • The results of experiments conducted on living vertebrates may be displayed, providing the animal care form of the registration is completed and the teacher sponsor recognizes that he/she is solely responsible for ensuring all humanitarian considerations have been applied during the work.
  • No experiments deleterious to the health or physical integrity of the animals may be carried out. Chick embryo studies that involve external intervention with drugs or other chemicals may not be made.
  • Detailed copies of the animal care rules may be obtained from the Fair Chairperson, or by contacting your local chapter of the SPCA for general humane treatment guidelines.
Microorganisms / Bio-Hazards / Drugs
  • The following hazardous biological materials may not be displayed:
    • Radioisotopes at activities above normal.
    • Biological toxins
    • Microorganism cultures
    • Cells or tissues infected with viruses
    • Cells or tissues including blood, except on sealed microscope slides which can be displayed.
    • Human body fluids (blood, urine, saliva, etc.)
    • Open containers of any organic matter (i.e. food)
    • Illegal or street drugs are prohibited
Human Subjects
  • If your exhibit involves the use of volunteer human subjects in any manner (collection of information, physical testing, questionnaires, etc.) then you must obtain their prior permission, explaining fully what you will expect of them and how you will use the results of the tests. You must also present the results in such a way that the individual’s privacy is guaranteed. No experiments, which may be deleterious to the health or physical integrity of the subjects, may be carried out.

Written Report

One (1) copy of the summary report is to be included with the Regional Science Fair registration forms. Mail an electronic PDF version to rrmarx@uvic.ca
Requirements for the report:

  • A written summary of the project intended to present a brief overview of the project and not be comprehensive.
  • Must be written by the student
  • Cannot exceed five (5) pages
  • Paper size = 22 × 28 cm size (approx. 8.5 × 11 in), double-spaced, 12 pt font, typewritten on one side only (or the handwritten equivalent thereof) including all graphs, diagrams, etc. Reports in excess of this limit will be penalised.

Use a simple format including:

  • NO COVER PAGE (This is a change from previous instructions)
    Please no duotangs or other covers. A staple (or paperclip) is sufficient for holding your report together.
    Please number all your pages
  • First page: At the top – include the project title, student name(s) and grade(s), and school name
    Pages 2-5: In the footer – include project title, student name(s) and grade(s), and school nameCONTENT
  • Introduction – (stating the aims and objectives of the work)
  • Procedure – (a summary of the significant materials and methods used in the study)
  • Results – (a summary of the results/observations)
  • Conclusions – (a summary of the conclusions)
  • Acknowledgement – (acknowledging help received)

There is no need to include tables, graphs and raw data in the report. These items should be with the project.